(CNSNews.com) - Outside the Beltway, Americans care most about jobs and economic growth, but Washington isn't listening, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) told a conservative gathering in Washington on Monday.
Cruz called for an "American energy renaissance" as the best way to restore the growth that people want but politicians won't even discuss.
"What an incredible opportunity we have right now," Cruz said. "The only thing that can stop this great energy renaissance is the government getting in the way."
He pointed to North Dakota, a fracking hub, where the average hourly wage in the oil and gas industry is $45.90 an hour and the unemployment rate is 2.6 percent.
Cruz said the same thing is happening in Texas, where increased oil revenue is turning around poorer school districts and allowing high school graduates to earn $80,000 driving trucks.
Cruz said the energy revolution "didn't come from the U.S. Department of Energy" or any other government agency: "It came from entrepreneurs putting capital at risk and meeting a need," he said, in states where regulation didn't strangle experimentation.
"In coming weeks, I will be introducing a bill, the American Energy Renaissance Act, that is designed to do two significant things: number one, to prevent the federal government from stopping the energy renaissance that is blossoming across the country; and number two, to expand the lands, the resources that are available for the private sector to develop so that we can answer what the American people are asking for, which is jobs and economic growth.
"This opportunity is right in front of us if the federal government will simply listen to the American people."
Cruz said his bill will:
-- prevent federal regulation of hydraulic fracturing;
-- improve domestic refining capacity;
-- approve the Keystone pipeline and remove the barriers for approving additional pipelines:
-- stop EPA overreach and the war on coal;
-- require Congress and the president to sign off on EPA regulations that kill jobs;
-- broaden energy development on federal lands;
-- expand offshore exploration and development;
-- expand U.S. energy exports.
"Preventing Washington from stopping the American energy renaissance has enormous benefits, will produce millions of high-paying jobs across this country, and also will generate significant additional revenues to Washington -- and the final element in this bill is that the additional revenues coming in will be dedicated in a trust fund to paying down our crushing national debt," Cruz said.
In his speech to the Heritage Action for America Conservative Policy Summit, Cruz said he's spent 13 months in Washington, but the Senate in that time has not addressed economic growth at all.
"We spent six weeks talking about guns and the president's agenda to restrict the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and virtually no time talking about fundamental tax reform, about regulatory reform, about reducing the barriers coming from Washington that are making it harder and harder for people who are struggling to achieve the American dream."
Cruz has been mentioned as a possible presidential candidate for 2016, and if he does plan to run, it appears he's settled on energy as his campaign theme.